Graduation is a big deal. You successfully made it through your program and now you’re ready to go out into the real-world and apply all that knowledge! But how do you prepare for that? There is no course or training you can take that transitions you from the classroom into the workplace, right? Luckily, Centennial College has a lot of other resources to help you get on track for graduation. Here we’ll give you some tips to best prepare for graduating, and what you should do before walking that stage in order to land your dream job.

1. Make sure you’ve completed your requirements

This one is a no-brainer. You’ve got to make sure that you’ve actually completed the requirements of your program. You can do this by using myCentennial to conduct an online audit of your progress towards graduation at any point in time between first enrolling at Centennial and graduation.

In general though, to graduate from a Centennial College program, you must complete all the required courses which make up your certificate, diploma, or degree program, with a GPA of 2.0 or greater. Additionally, you need to make sure that at least 25% of the courses in your program were completed at Centennial College. This is because Centennial offers certain programs (like the Bachelor of Science in Nursing) in collaboration with other schools, including the University of Toronto Scarborough, Toronto Metropolitan University, and George Brown College. It’s important to remember that you should spend an equal amount of time at both schools, or, in Centennial’s case, at least 25% of the time at this particular school. 

Lastly, in order to successfully graduate, you must actually apply to graduate. At the beginning of the semester in which you expect to complete all your graduation requirements, you must apply to graduate online through myCentennial, or submit an Application to Graduate form to your program’s Enrolment Services Office. If you don’t complete either of these steps, the Enrolment Services Office does not know that you intend to graduate, and so they won’t audit your eligibility for graduation. 

2. Decide if you want to continue on with studying

Although you don’t have to necessarily know this before graduating, it would be useful to know this as soon as possible so that you still have time to apply to a different program. If you are interested in a Diploma in a Second Major/Double Diplomas and you’ve already graduated in one majhor or option, you may study for a diploma in another major in the same program without repeating the common courses. You only need approval from your program Chair to do this. However, the projects and field work may not be carried over, and you will need to complete the required general education electives. In general though, the total courses required to complete the new program will be determined by its curriculum. This is a great option if you really enjoyed your program and your major and you still want to explore other areas of that program. It also diversifies your education and experience, and thus also your career opportunities.

You can also choose to enter a postgrad program, so Graduate Certificate programs. These are usually short (one or two years). This is a great option for you if you know which field you want to work in, and you’re looking to learn specialized skills tailored specifically to your career’s expectations and your own aspirations. Although the Certificate program you choose may not be necessary for the job you want, it would certainly give you an edge over the competition!

3. Decide if and when you want to continue with your program

If you’re unsure about continuing your education at the moment, or if unexpected circumstances arise in your life where you’re unable to continue college, you can choose to postpone your graduation and take a break from school. You are usually expected to complete your program within specific time limits, and this is important to keep in mind if you’re considering taking time off. If you need more time though, you’ll need written approval from your program Chair or Director to extend the time limit. And if you indeed decide to take time off from school, you can re-enter your program without going through the admission process again. Simply use a Re-Admit/Program Transfer form to start your course work again, which is available at every Enrolment Services Office on campus.

4. Getting ready for a career

Networking is the number one best way to increase your chances of getting the job you want after graduation. And by networking, I mean talking to anyone you can and building relationships. This includes teachers, students, guest instructors, administration staff, any workplaces, etc. Do this as soon as you enter Centennial! It will also help build your interpersonal skills and you’ll find it easier to make friends as well. Building these relationships will be important for letters of recommendations, references, and even getting introduced to potential employers, especially by your instructors! As students, you can also help each other out. Maintain those friendships throughout college and even afterwards so you can help each other succeed. A job search’s success can be highly dependent on who you know!

A great place to learn some of these skills is Career Services at Centennial. You could learn to write cover letters, and resumes, prepare for an interview and learn the associated skills to leave good impressions, even how to write professional emails! Career Services is a great resource, especially if you take time to hone your writing skills over the course of your education.

Another great way to get ready for a career is getting a job while you’re in school. It doesn’t necessarily have to be in your desired field or related to your program, but if it is, even better! Make sure to check out HireCentennial for any job postings throughout the academic year. Employers love seeing your engagement with the field early on and they’ll know you’re dedicated to the job. If you can’t find a job within the field, try volunteering instead! Volunteering is a great way to reveal personality traits; employers make assumptions about what you care about based on what you dedicate your time towards. At the end of the day, between two applicants who have similar work experience, volunteering is what might make or break that hiring offer.

Lastly, build an online presence! Employers often find their applicants online to get more information about them and even get a better gauge for them as a person. LinkedIn is a great place to do this. However, it can be really hard and time-consuming to create a LinkedIn profile and make it perfect in even just a few hours. Because it consists of all your education history, work experience, volunteer positions, projects, skills, awards, languages, certifications, and more, it’s important to stay on top of keeping it updated constantly. As soon as you gain a new experience, log it on your profile to avoid forgetting it. Employers will also see that and will appreciate the current status of your profile!

Graduating is an accomplishment, but it can also be scary. You’re closing one chapter and opening a new one. Embarking on an unknown journey is always scary, but that’s why we’ve provided you with some tips to guide you on your journey towards graduation and beyond. But despite these tips and tricks, it’s important to remember to celebrate this milestone, and to think about what you want to do next. Whether it’s more school, a career, or a break, make the best decision for you!

Published on July 6, 2023

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